One of the less remembered joys of the lovely old SNES was a dinky pearl called Super Dodgeball. Small chaps in sportswear toddled about, chucking a ball at each other and trying to knock the other side out – a bit like your sadistic gym teacher used to do, only without quite so much violence. Well now it’s back, kinda sorta, only this time the violence is there and in full effect. Not only do you have to chuck that ball at ‘em, super hard, but there’s all manner of weapons – metal bars, piles of bricks, bombs, fridges – not to mention an elaborate array of special moves to smash them little critters into angels.
It’s fun, it’s twee, but it’s annoyingly limited. Fans of the original will bemoan the lack of control and the relative inactivity of your off-court compadres. Plus the Tournament mode is a piffling ten matches long – which, when you consider each game weighs in at around five minutes a pop, is just a little bit stingy. But that’s not to say that it’s rubbish. Oh no, it has its moments. The teams you can choose from are unlikely but quaint. Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Canada and Taiwan are just a few of the refreshingly irregular locals you can pick your brawlers from. And the Freeform Brawling mode is a right riveting punch hoot – and a cracking way to polish up on your new-found kicking and punching skills.
Indeed, it’s these very brawling tactics that have turned off many fans of the originals. You’ll bend down to pick up the ball and one of your opponents will dash up and kick you upside the butt. Likewise, if you get bored, you can just stand on the halfway line slapping anyone who comes your way. It’s not a bad little game, but there’s not an awful lot to recommend it either. A pleasing mix of creaky nostalgia and not-quite-up-to-it modernisation leaves it bathing in a sea of meh.
Jul 21, 2008